Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The first Catholic missionaries who came to Siam were probably the chaplains of Portuguese ships in the 16th century sent to Ayutthaya bringing the officers of Portugal to enter into relations with Siam. There are no documents to confirm this hypothesis. There is a written history prepared by foreigners stating that in 1544, Antonio de Paiva, a Portuguese, had traveled to Ayutthaya in the time of Phra Jairaja and had been given an audience and had conversation about religion with the King. The King was converted and baptized, being given the Portuguese name of Dom Joâo. There is no evidence to confirm this claim. The first missionary who mentioned Siam in writings about his missionary task was St. Francis Xavier himself. He mentioned Siam in his four letters written from Sancian, although his real purpose was to go to China. However, St. Francis Xavier did not go either to China or to Siam because he died on December 3, 1552. .